ATEROLATERAL spinal tractotomy, or cordotomy, was introduced in 1911 by Spiller and Martin. General acceptance followed the report of Frazier in 1920. It continues to be an effective procedure for the alleviation of pain associated with malignant disease.1,2
In the past half century, this procedure has also been performed, but less frequently, for a variety of painful states of nonmalignant origin,3-15 most commonly in paraplegia, tabes dorsalis, sciatica or arachnitis, amputation stump pain, and phantom limb pain.16 In addition, this operation has been performed for pain in a number of other benign disease entities, such as interstitial cystitis, acute porphyuria, osteoarthritis, postherpetic neuralgia, painful scar, peripheral vascular disease, and kraurosis vulvae.7,8,10,13,16-30
Nearly 70% of the cordotomies reported in approximately 150 cases of painful paraplegia (Table 1) have been of benefit. Whether or not the burning pain sometimes associated with this paralytic state could consistently be relieved
JOYNER J, MEALEY J, FREEMAN LW. Cordotomy for Intractable Pain of Nonmalignant Origin: Review of Twenty Cases. Arch Surg. 1966;93(3):480–486. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1966.01330030110022
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